A little while back, when I was still mired in the writing of The World Atlas of Beer, I received a couple of bottles of Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA from the Harpoon Brewery. I was curious, as I’m sure you would be, too, but hadn’t the time for — ahem! — extraneous tasting. While the book is still not quite put to bed, I am able to taste non-book beers now, and so this was one of the first I grabbed.
From first sniff, I was pretty sure I was going to like this 6.9% alcohol ale. No, check that, not from first sniff, but from first sight, as it pours a pretty coppery gold colour with an impressive collar of lasting white foam. Then the nose — spicy, a bit peppery, with an undercurrent of caraway seed, which I find in a number of rye beers, and some pineapple and citrus notes, to boot.
In the mouth, the tropical fruitiness that underpins the aroma comes out first, but is quickly – yet not overly aggressively — joined by a nice mix of spicy and grapefruity hop character, all playing happily with a light rye breadiness. Towards the finish, the hop takes over, but never quite subdues the caramelly, peppery maltiness.
Overall, I find this a quirky beer, since it’s probably too hoppy for most non-IPA-mad drinkers, yet I fear also too tame for some of the more chronic hopheads. Me, I like it just fine, and despite its almost 7% strength, could easily see enjoying a couple of bottles over the course of an evening, all to myself.
Which might be exactly what I’ll be doing tonight.